Schools on the Isle of Wight are being urged to join the eighteen Island primaries already signed up for Space Camp, a project led by a self-confessed “research geek” and Primary Science Teacher of the Year Claire Loizos.

Through her work with The Ogden Trust, which promotes the teaching and learning of physics, Claire, who is a teacher at Broadlea Primary in Lake, has won a grant from the Stephen Hawking Foundation.

She is leading free overnight residentials, giving the Island’s primary school children a chance to look at the stars. Children are challenged to find out what it takes to be an astronaut, including wearing gloves to play with tricky toys. Why? Because, to fire up young minds you need to start young says Claire:

“If you want children to go into stem subjects, you need to do that at primary school.

“If we want children to be astronauts, which of course we do, or be an astrobiologist and find life on Mars, we need to show them that’s something they could do at primary school and if we’re not teaching them that they’re not going to know that.”

Claire says,

“With Tim Peake going to space, it was a really engaging and exiting thing. [Schools] can’t provide them with that opportunity [to learn about it] any more because the science curriculum is really heavy. This will provide them with that opportunity.

“Go and look at the stars! Go and look at the moon! Go and see what it takes to be an astronaut! Have they got that problem solving mind?

“I’m happy to do work to get it up and running this year. I’m happy to come and talk to people. We can make something work for them, or I can get them hooked up for next year. We don’t have many schools involved in the south of the Wight.”

Three hub schools will look after a host of kit and resources, including telescopes, books and science toys, for other schools to borrow.

Claire is hoping to get amateur and professional astronomers on the Isle of Wight involved in the project. She also has exciting plans to bring former NASA astronaut Michael Foale and Dr Susie Imber from tv’s Astronauts, Do You Have What It Takes? to the Island.

Claire Loizos

Hear Lucy Morgan’s report on why Space Camp will be so exciting…

Meanwhile, her message to schools is that it is not too late to sign up and hold a space camp this year. Claire says she will provide plenty of support and training. Contact her at  [email protected]